Scotland’s First Minister has questioned the lack of coverage of the so-called ‘Dark Money’ scandal that has engulfed the Scottish Conservative Party.
In a tweet posted on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said “Only just caught up with the detail of this Scottish Tory #darkmoney story in @FerretScot. Surprised there aren’t more media questions being asked about it – as well as about the Richard Cook/DUP story.”
The message was prompted by revelations published by investigative website The Ferret that questioned the source of hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to local branches of Ruth Davidson’s party.
On 26 June The Ferret revealed that £319,000 had been given to Tory politicians by the Scottish Unionist Association Trust. The organisation has no fixed address or known current trustees and is currently being examined by the Electoral Commission.
However the issue has been met with subdued reaction across Scotland’s media, with BBC Scotland coming in for especially heavy criticism.
The corporation has failed to include the story in its news bulletins despite senior politicians raising the matter in the House of Commons. SNP MP Pete Wishart raised the issue last week and called for a debate.
His party colleague Mhairi Black has called on Ruth Davidson to answer questions. In her Daily Record column, MP Black wrote: “The Scottish Tories are up to their necks in dark money and it’s time the Electoral Commission zeroed in on these shady practices.
“The question for Davidson now is, will she come clean? Or will she instead continue to accept dodgy donations with one hand, while shaking the hands of constituents with the other?”
Davidson’s party is also linked to what many have described as dodgy donations made to the Northern Irish DUP during the Brexit campaign. The money was spent on pro-Bexit adverts in the UK.
Richard Cook, a former vice chairman of the Conservative Party in Scotland and a previous Tory candidate for East Renfrewshire, was behind the DUP’s controversial £425,000 donation.
However, despite the very clear implications for Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives, the issue has failed to generate the headlines it deserves across Scotland’s media.
The lack of coverage has prompted a series of angry exchanges between senior BBC Scotland figures and members of the public over the refusal of BBC Scotland to adequately cover the scandal.
The broadcaster has employed a virtual news blackout of the story with its two main news programmes Reporting Scotland and Good Morning Scotland failing to mention it.
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